Monday, December 16, 2013

Star Trek Inspired Tea Cozy Part 2: Dome Style Cozy

Last week, I shared a quick tutorial on embroidering text. As promised, I'll now outline an easy way to make a felt, dome-style tea cozy.

First, measure the diameter and height of your teapot. Add an inch or two to allow for seams/wiggle room. Cut two rectangles on the fold of your felt (the fold will be the top of the cozy). Take something round, like a bowl or a plate, and use it to trim the two top corners.

This is what it will look like opened up. You need two of these.

If you are going to embroider anything on the cozy, now is the time. See my previous post on embroidering text.

With both pieces of fabric unfolded, line them up back-to-back. Stitch the two straight edges, leaving about a half inch seam allowance.

Fold it over and finish stitching the edges.

Now trim the seams within a quarter inch of the stitching.

Now make yourself a pot of tea and enjoy your handiwork!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Star Trek Inspired Tea Cozy Part 1: Embroidering Text

I decided last week to make a tea cozy inspired by Captain Picard's famous words: "Tea, Earl Grey, hot." There is nothing better than a hot cup of tea on a cold Winter day like today. The wind is furiously blowing leaves and branches all over the place outside! But I'm nice and warm with my cup of Earl Grey, enjoying the glow of the lights on my little Christmas tree. This is paradise.

This is going to be a two-part tutorial. Today, I'll outline an easy way to embroider text. Next week, I'll share how to make your own dome-style tea cozy.

If your embroidery project requires precision work, you are better off tracing your design using fabric pens. But, if your fabric is difficult to draw on, like the felt I used, the following technique works just fine. First print out a sample of what you want to embroider on regular computer paper. Once you get it sized the way you want, position it on the item and pin the paper in place.

Using a two-ply embroidery thread, outline your text using a split stitch. Here's how:

Make a stitch, then push your needle up through the middle of the stitch you just made. Make another stitch, and repeat this process all the way around each letter. The corners may be tricky to keep in line using the split stitch. Smaller stitches (unlike the ones in the picture above...) are easier to control. You can see that mine got progressively smaller as I progressed. Not great technique, but it has character.

The back will be messy, so plan on adding a lining or backing to your project. 

When you are done stitching, gently tear away the paper. The perforations made from the needle will make this task pretty easy to accomplish.

For the tighter sections (like the middle of the "e" and the "a") you may need to use tweezers to pull the paper bits outs.

This technique will work fine with simple images as well, as long as you are not too worried about fine detail. Stay tuned for step-by-step instructions on how to make your own tea cozy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Brine

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. It's the only day I am allowed to eat as much as I can possibly stuff in and not feel judged for it. This year was my first time hosting Thanksgiving. My first time cooking a turkey on my own, in fact! I know this recipe is a bit late, but that's just how the timing worked out. (I couldn't really post a recipe I hadn't actually tried yet.) I am happy to report that no one got sick, and the turkey tasted great!

Turkey Brine
(Print Recipe)

1 gallon (16 cups) water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 750ml bottle dry white wine

Combine everything but the wine in a large stock pot. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, get the turkey ready. Remove the giblets and set aside to use for stock. Put the turkey in a basting bag, then place it in a container. A large bucket or bowl will do if you plan on keeping it in the fridge. If it won't fit in the fridge, you can put it in an ice chest, as I did.

Once the brine is cooled, pour it into the bag with the turkey. Next, pour the wine in (I actually used a cheap champagne). Let the turkey marinate for 24 hours, flipping it halfway through.

Remove the turkey from the brine a couple hours before you plan to start roasting it. Discard the brine and rinse the turkey in cool water to remove excess salt. Allow turkey to stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours while you prepare the stuffing and get the oven preheated.

This recipe made for an extremely moist and flavorful bird, well worth any extra time and effort!